Courtesy PolyOne GLS Thermoplastic Elastomers:
An Entrepreneur invented a one-piece, oral-care tool but needed an ergonomic, safe material to bring the right feel and function for the device. Entrepreneur Penelope Nowling needed an ergonomic and FDA compliant material for the dental gum stimulator she designed called Plaque Buster. Compared to traditional gum stimulators that use a metal handle with a disposable tip, the Plaque Buster is an innovative, one-piece, injection-molded design with no metal to scratch the user’s teeth. The device was designed for a comfortable overall feel.
Choosing the right material for the device was crucial. Penelope needed a product that was smooth and not too rough on a user’s gums, but firm enough to do its job of stimulating and massaging the gum. After doing extensive research on different material options, Penelope discovered thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs), which are available in a wide range of hardnesses and can be easily colored and flavored.
PolyOne worked with Penelope and the company’s custom molder to select the ideal TPE to meet the requirements for the dental device. The TPE needed to provide a smooth, even surface appearance, offer an appealing feel and excellent grip in both wet and dry environments. The material also needed to provide durability, so that the tip of the device can withstand use. It was important to Penelope that the product be latex-free and BPA-free to meet customers’ expectations.
Penelope test-marketed the product in several grades of material with different durometers and chose one that had just the right feel and function — a grade of Dynaflex™ from PolyOne GLS Thermoplastic Elastomers.
It was also important to Penelope that the product be manufactured completely in the USA. “The materials and packaging are made in the US, and molded and packaged in Florida,” Penelope says proudly. The Plaque Buster is currently sold in local specialty stores and in some local Walgreens, and select Walmart Chainwide Stores, and the company hopes to expand to larger regional chains.
The Plaque Buster comes in eight colors, including neon colors with high consumer appeal.
The PolyOne TPE provided the necessary performance characteristics and assurance of compliant ingredients to enable successful initial sales and anticipated growth of the innovative Plaque Buster.
Call our experts today to discuss how we can create a custom surface TPE that will meet the aesthetic and functional requirements of your application.